Condoms. Not a topic that comes up in everyday conversation. And yet, why not? Condoms are a subject with international importance. So we’re giving you an update on what’s happening in the world of condoms.
A WORLD WITHOUT CONDOMS
Sadly, this is the reality for most women in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to journalist Talia Frenkel. Whilst travelling through Uganda she met Josephine, whose story is unfortunately all too common. Unable to afford the local market price for condoms, and unable to rely on her local clinic, many women have unprotected sex for a number of reasons and end up with an unwanted pregnancy, or an STD. In fact, sexually-transmitted HIV is the number one cause of deaths in women and girls aged 15-44. Inspired, Talia created L. Condom – a condom company aimed at women by providing them with condoms at below market price.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is preventable, she believes. Giving these women condoms helps them prevent unwanted pregnancies, meaning these women have more opportunities for education, and bread-earning possibilities. L.Condoms are available to buy online – even offering a one hour discrete delivery service in LA and San Francisco. For every condom purchased, one is distributed in a developing country.
THE GATES FOUNDATION
The Gates Foundation has a bet going: that more people in the developed world would used condoms if they felt better when having sex. While they provide cheap, effective protection against STIs and unwanted pregnancy, many people don’t want to use them because they lessen the sensations felt during sex. So the Gates Foundation held a competition, offering $100,000, to redesign the condom – keeping its effectiveness and enhancing pleasure. They had many different – and sometimes crazy – submissions (one of the craziest included a slingshot applicator!). Changes included adding graphene to allow for a thinner, yet still protective condom, that also still allows for heat transfer; a new applicator, that makes slipping a condom on less awkward and mood-killing; memory-shape material, so that sensations are more easily felt by both parties, and a condom that gently tightens during intercourse.
NOTHING TO HIDE
This was the concept behind the creation of Mine condoms. While condoms are a widely accepted form of contraception, there is still a certain stigma surrounding their possession by women. Having them in your drawers or bathroom, or purse – is just ‘not done’, apparently. A survey showed that 60 percent of women felt a woman carrying a condom was considered promiscuous, and that three-quarters of them felt embarrassed when buying condoms.
So a group of students from the School of Visual Arts in New York designed condoms with more women-friendly packaging, so they will feel more comfortable buying and carrying condoms, and thus encouraging healthier sexual practices. So far, they have three lines out: prettier casings for individual condoms, with bright colours and patterns on them. An elegant holder for the pretty casings – no more ugly box – and a bathroom storage capsule that also contains tampons.
By spreading the word about these developments, lots of stigma about a tiny object could be called into question. So yeah condoms, it’s been a while – time we had chat. Will you practice safe sex?